Aims: Obese subjects with insulin resistance and hypertension have abnormal aortic elastic function, which may predispose them to the development of left ventricular d ysfunction. We hypothesised that obesity, uncomplicated by other cardiovascular risk factors, is independently associated with aortic function. Methods and results: We used magnetic resonance imaging to measure aortic compliance, distensibility and stiffness index in 27 obese subjects (BMI 33 kg/m2) without insulin resistance and with normal cholesterol and blood pressure, and 12 controls (BMI 23 kg/m2). Obesity was associated with reduced aortic compliance (0.9 ± 0.1 vs. 1.5 ± 0.2 mm2/mmHg in controls, p < 0.02) and distensibility (3.3 ± 0.01 vs. 5.6 ± 0.01 mmHg-1 × 10-3, p < 0.02), as well as higher stiffness index (3.4 ± 0.3 vs. 2.1 ± 0.1, p < 0.02). Body mass index and fat mass were negatively correlated with aortic function. Leptin was higher in obesity (8.9 ± 0.6 vs. 4.7 ± 0.6 ng/ml, p < 0.001) and also correlated with aortic measures.In multiple regression models, fat mass, leptin and body mass index were independent predictors of aortic function. Conclusion: Aortic elastic function is abnormal in obese subjects without other cardiovascular risk factors. These findings highlight the independent importance of obesity in the development of cardiovascular disease. © 2008 Pennell; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Journal article


Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance

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